Bosworth1485

The 6 artworks

Against the background thought of embedding art to help the landscape find its voice, we developed a conceptual framework.

1 TRAIL

Linking each location is a walking trail that takes us through the landscape. The process of leading us from one chapter to the next is cumulative, in the sense that the trail is taking us not just from field to field, but on a journey through a story. Hence, completing the trail brings with it a sense of having arrived at an understanding - of the landscape, of a slice of history, of themes we see being played out in the world around us.

2 STORIES

This landscape actually has two stories to tell. There is the story of one day in 1485, and there is the story of the 500 year shadow it has cast through the historical account. By moving from one to the other we are able to present a story-within-a-story that begins half a millennium ago and runs right up to today - and on into the future.

6 CHAPTERS

We have broken this combined story down into 6 chapters, each of which relates to a significant location in the landscape. The 6 chapters are told by 6 artworks in these locations. Each artwork must feel embedded in its setting well enough to tell its part of the story. But these are artworks, not illustrations in a history book. They must pull people into the story by reaching beyond historical details to touch universal themes we can all relate to.


 

Chapter 1

Bosworth1485 | Trail 1

CHAPTER 1 : THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM
SUTTON CHENEY

Our story opens with a moment of quiet we have all known. Before any big event there is always such a moment, a moment in which acute tension becomes extreme calm. In that moment a person stands before a mirror alone, feeling the weight of their task and asking if they have what it takes.

The legend is that Richard III prayed in the Church of St James,Sutton Cheney, on the eve of meeting Henry Tudor in battle. The lives of his soldiers and the future of the country lay heavy on his mind, yet in that moment of selfexamination the king became a man unprotected by his office. A man kneeling before his maker, asking what the morrow would bring.

A dais of black granite floats slightly above the ground. Joint lines show it to be a patchwork of stones fitted together to form a circle. Near the centre the joints are so tight they are invisible, further out they are widening. Near the edge there is a depression in the stone, a cup shape to catch the rainwater.

Looking down into this little pool of water is a figure in white marble, a kneeling figure cloaked in a great robe that flows down and out to cover almost the whole dais. The robe shows him to be king, both because it is fringed with a passage from Richard’s Prayer and because it is decorated with images of the soldiers in his care, asleep in their encampment. Beneath the robe, however, the figure gazing into the water seems a man like any other, a man looking into his soul.

SITE

The legend of Richard’s prayer plus the general tenor of this piece both call for a location near St James’s Church, and we are pleased that the PCC have agreed a site within the churchyard itself.

This will mean passing through two sets of gates separated by a tree-lined path before reaching a place of quiet seclusion, and will have the effect of giving the piece a necessary quality of discovered intimacy.

DETAILS

As with all of the artworks, it is worth emphasising that this is an artwork, not an illustration. Although it contains a figure representing Richard III, the aim is to evoke his situation so we can identify with it rather than to portray him as such. There will be an interpretation panel explaining this and giving historical information.

The design, scale and materials of this piece have been developed with consideration to surrounding gravestones and to the church itself with its Grade II architecture.

Stone is the material best suited to this context in terms of feel as well as longevity, so the dais will be carved from black granite and the robed figure from white marble (safely meeting the minimum 50-year-life stipulation). The figure will look to be carved from a single block, though the scale of the artwork as a whole will require assembling from several pieces of stone.

The kneeling figure will face the church, creating a relationship between the two reinforced by Latin text from Richard’s Book of Hours carved around the edge of the robe. The imagery of sleeping soldiers will be low-relief carved into the robe, this becoming more apparent as it reaches the ground and spreads out to cover the dais. There is an option for the figure to be holding a crown,though the intention is for the robe itself to express kingship.

The base will be set high enough off the ground to serve as an informal seat. The figure will be slightly larger than life-size and the extra height will give it a significant presence from close up. From further away its form and materials will ensure it does not dominate its setting.

This is an artwork about meditation.

Bosworth1485 | Trail 1

Chapter 2

Bosworth1485 | Trail 2

CHAPTER 2: THE STORM BREAKS
FENN LANES

When force meets force, when the air crackles with electricity, then everything can be turned upside down in an instant. And with the heat of the moment comes altered perspective. Time stands still, men become giants, actions take on the quality of myth. Yet from the outside, there may be little to see.

As soon as the battle commenced on August 22nd 1485, the established order of things counted for nothing. Rival gangs were left to slug it out and there was no knowing what the day would bring. To those in the thick of it, a matter of life and death. More of a curiosity, though, to those watching from afar.

Bosworth1485 | Trail 2

Chapter 3

Bosworth1485 | Trail 3

CHAPTER 3: THE NEW ORDER
STOKE GOLDING

The battle has been won, but while swords are still wet with blood an official stamp must be put on the outcome and a new rule legitimised. That means a crown and it means paying people off. We are told a chair was pulled out from a nearby farmhouse and Henry wasted no time having himself crowned on the hill overlooking the battlefield, before dividing the spoils with his supporters. Against the backdrop of the local hilltop church, thanks were given to God for a new king and the re-establishment of order. The traditional account calls this moment on Crown Hill not just the start of a new reign but a turning point in English history.

This is an artwork about creating order out of chaos

Chapter 3

As this is an art trail that tells a story, the trail itself must be designed as carefully as any one of the 6 artworks. In essence, the trail is the mother artwork that makes sense of the other 6.


Chapter 4

Chapter 4

CHAPTER 4: THE HEALING
DADLINGTON

After the battle has been fought, the blood has been shed, the crown has been won - only then does the real work begin. Because wounds are still open and counting the bodies only rubs salt into the wounds. Mending grievances is a longer and harder job than a morning’s fight in a field. It is something for generations of men and women to work at. On the 22nd of August 1485 the dead were buried where they fell, but in the years that followed a long, gradual process of healing began. Remains of the dead from both sides were brought together in the churchyard of St James the Greater, Dadlingtion, and Henry VIII granted a licence for a chantry priest to pray for their souls.

This is an artwork about reflection and reconciliation.

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 5

CHAPTER 5: DIGGING UP THE PAST
HERITAGE CENTRE

The events of one day in 1485 are long gone. No-one knows what really happened. But all around these fields there are clues. Cannonballs, badges, fragments of weaponry lying undisturbed for centuries. All just waiting to be dug up
But clues do not speak for themselves. They have to be pieced together to form a story, like a jigsaw puzzle. Except there are only ever a few pieces, so there is always more than one story they could be telling.

This is an artwork about archaeology.

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Chapter 6: TWO SIDES TO A STORY
MARKET BOSWORTH

The Wars of the Roses came to an end in 1485. Or did they? Very soon, the official version of events was laid down. Over time it became so ingrained it passed, with its melodrama and colourful villains, into the popular imagination. But almost from the start the grumbling began that lies were being told and the dead, unable to defend themselves, were being maligned.
The desire to unearth the truth increased up to our own day, when cannonballs and badges and even the bones of a king have been dug up to settle the matter. But they have not done so. We still have two opposing accounts and the conflict rages on. But with a crucial difference: for all its fervour, the ‘Wars of the Stories’ is a bloodless feud. It is debate, storytelling and theatre - a passionate but peaceful public discourse we want to encourage.

This is an artwork about agreeing to differ - the hallmark of a healthy society.

Bosworth 1485 - Market Bosworth
Bosworth 1485, Market Bosworth

The 7th artwork

As this is an art trail that tells a story, the trail itself must be designed as carefully as any one of the 6 artworks. In essence, the trail is the mother artwork that makes sense of the other 6.

Important things to consider are the vistas the trail affords between artworks, as well as the approach to and leave-taking from each artwork. How the land rises and falls, how the view opens out and closes in, whether an artwork reveals itself as a corner is turned or is visible far in the distance - all this must be orchestrated to help tell each chapter of the story. Ideally, integration of landscape, trail and artworks would by itself lead people through the story. In practice, this will need support in the form of signposting and by interpretation panels at each location. But the ideal remains: it is the job of the trail above all the other artworks to articulate the landscape.

The route, which uses existing rights of way, begins and ends at Market Bosworth, the largest town in the area and revolves around an axis centred on the existing Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre on Ambion Hill. These two locations host the final two artworks, which bring the story up to our own time. The events of August the 22nd 1485 itself are told by artworks along the heart of the trail, which weaves its way through Sutton Cheney, the battlefield, Stoke Golding and Dadlington - all locations overlooked by the Heritage Centre.

Our trail aims to achieve two things: to lead people through the 6 artworks and to offer an enjoyable day out in the countryside. Both of these things need to be available to people of all ages and abilities, whether physical or mental, so the trail must have accessibility and flexibility built into it.

At present, the route covers 12 miles of undulating countryside with a total ascent of 225 metres. Some of this is on tarmac, but most is on country paths, parts of which will need improving to deal with waterlogged ground. Allowing for breaks, an experienced walker in good health could hope to complete the circuit in a day. In addition, there may be the option of a longer route taking in the location, according to the latest archaeology, where Richard is presumed to have died.

OTHER FORMS OF TRANSPORT

But not everyone will approach the trail in this fashion. Local people, of course, can take it in stages. Others will want alternatives to completing the route on foot. And, needless to say, those unable to walk must be catered for. To begin with, each of the artworks must be accessible by car, which means a parking solution for each location. This could perhaps be tackled in phases.

Then there is cycle hire. We envisage docking stations in key locations such as the Battlefield Heritage Centre. By bicycle, the circuit itself could be completed in about an hour and a half.We have discussed the feasibility of reinstating a canal ferry to link Stoke Golding, Sutton Cheney Wharf and Market Bosworth.

It should be simple to connect to the existing Battlefield Railway between Shenton and Market Bosworth. And there could be further options - horses, land trains, even golf carts perhaps. Our ambition is to create a trail with options at various points where people can exchange walking for other forms of transport.

Bosworth1485